Thursday, July 19, 2012

Saratoga Springs History Museum & Bolster Collection

As I sit here trying to think of what to write about each (almost) week, I usually think of this idea that I had when I decided to start this blog. the idea was to not only write about Greenwich History, but to also write about local museums and research facilities, being an historian, & offer book reviews. So, I have decided to write about a place I visited recently.

The Saratoga Springs History Museum in the Canfield Casino is in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. If you have not been there in awhile, or not at all, I highly recommend it. They have 3 floors of exhibits & there is something for everyone. There are gorgeous dresses, a new exhibit on Kaydeross Park with vintage games, the furnishings of the Walworth family, & a ghost exhibit. The gift shop is great too! But when I was there last week, it was not to view the exhibits. It was to talk about old papers and negatives.

The Beatrice Sweeney Archives contains many documents pertaining to local people & businesses. One such collection is the Caffe Lena papers. In 1960 Lena Spencer opened Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs  & it is the oldest continuously operated coffeehouse in the US.

The George S. Bolster Collection contains over 325,000 negatives from 1855-1980. These negatives are from photographers such as Harry B. Settle, Seneca Ray Stoddard, Jesse S. Wooley, & George Bolster himself. Reprints of these photographs are for sale on their website, or by visiting the collection on Monday, Tuesday, or Friday from 10:00-3:00 p.m. (appointments are appreciated).

Some of the George S. Bolster Collection in storage boxes

Part of the Beatrice Sweeney Archives

The Bolster Collection & Sweeney Archives are amazing local resources to utilize in research. Whether you are an author writing a book about the area, like Geoffrey O'Brien (The Fall of the House of Walworth) or a resident looking for an image to hang in your living room, I encourage you to look right in your own backyard & discover what is right there!

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